“Words convey the mental treasures of one period to the generations that follow; and laden with this, their precious freight, they sail safely across gulfs of time in which empires have suffered shipwreck and the languages of common life have sunk into oblivion.”
An old friend once told me that when you learn a new language you gain another soul. I live this expression everyday. Growing up in bilingual house took away the “foreign” notion of flowing in and out in different languages. I’ve always loved learning languages and how words carry different meaning, and if you learn a different language you are able to express yourself in a whole new sense. More then just translating back into English—thinking in a different language. Understanding there are words that only exist in their own context. Learning Sign Language has opened up a whole different world of thoughts, expression, and feelings. I can hear with my eyes.
Finally grasping KSL was equivalent to turning on a different part of my brain. I see hands moving—but in my head I hear their meaning. Signed Language is such a beautiful way to express yourself. It also carries with it the little details that all languages have making each one peculiar little masterpiece. Facial expressions are periods, question marks, exclamation points. Signing has demanded an honesty that is sometimes refreshing and frightening—it equivalent to something being written on your face. Interacting with my students has allowed me to realize how perceptive they are. They know when I am tired, happy, and some can tell when I am feeling downright confused—even when I don’t know what I am feeling.
When they are signing they make each story come alive. They describe details using their hands, their face, and their whole heart. I love to watch them sign stories and hear them flowing with my eyes. I know when I am signing I am able to animate my thoughts and feelings in a way I could never imagine before—and perhaps gained a whole new soul.